March 20, 2009

Berkeley eProtocol for Human Subjects Research Goes Live!

Berkeley eProtocol is a user-friendly, online system for submitting, tracking, reviewing, and approving OPHS/CPHS human research protocols. Berkeley eProtocol will replace the current paper-based process, starting with exempt and expanding to expedited and full Committee applications as it is rolled out over the coming months.

Exempt Protocol Pilot of eProtocol

Currently, eProtocol is available for the submission of exempt protocols only. The purpose of the eProtocol exempt protocol pilot is to ensure that the system is running smoothly before opening it up to all submissions. Exempt applications submitted via Berkeley eProtocol will be given priority in the OPHS review process.

If you are submitting an exempt protocol and want to participate in this Berkeley eProtocol pilot, go to:

What is Exempt Research?

For information about what it means to qualify as exempt, categories, and examples of exempt research, see the CPHS Guidelines in Exempt Research at:

Question and Comments

If you have any questions or comments about the new Berkeley eProtocol system, please contact OPHS Director Rebecca Armstrong at or OPHS eProtocol project manager Maria Savage at

March 12, 2009

Internal Deadlines for NIH Challenge Grants

The NIH Challenge Grant in Health and Science Research Program is a new initiative which will provide funding for approximately 200 or more two-year jump-start grants to support research that addresses specific scientific and health research challenges in biomedical and behavioral research. Challenge Areas and Topics, defined by the NIH, focus on specific knowledge gaps, scientific opportunities, new technologies, data generation, or research methods that would benefit from an influx of funds to quickly advance the area in significant ways. Research in these areas should have a high impact in biomedical or behavioral science and/or public health. For more information go to:

SPO anticipates a large volume of grant applications in response to this program. To ensure the successful submission of these applications, we are asking researchers to follow the following steps in submitting NIH Challenge Grant applications:

1. By Thursday, March 26th: Send a brief statement of your intent to apply to No details about your project are required at this stage, but your statement will help us determine how many NIH Challenge Grant proposals to expect.

2. By Monday, April 20th at 5 p.m. submit an electronic and hard copy of your proposal including a signed Proposal Review Form and other required documents to SPO for review. The electronic copy should be submitted via the SPO Drop Box not as an email attachment: Submitting by this date will ensure you are submitting at least five days prior to the NIH deadline and in compliance with the VCRO’s “on-time” internal proposal submission policy.

3. If you anticipate that you will need to submit your proposal to SPO after the five day internal proposal deadline, follow the procedure for seeking an exception described on the SPO web site:

For more updated news on the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, please see on the SPO web site.

March 09, 2009

President Lifts Restrictions on Stem Cell Research

On March 9, 2009, President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order (EO) “Removing Barriers to Responsible Scientific Research Using Human Stem Cells that lifts the ban on federal funding for embryonic stem cell research.

The EO states that:
“The purpose of this order is to remove these limitations on scientific inquiry, to expand NIH support for the exploration of human stem cell research, and in so doing to enhance the contribution of America's scientists to important new discoveries and new therapies for the benefit of humankind.”
The EO directs the National Institues of Health to
review existing NIH guidance and other widely recognized guidelines on human stem cell research, including provisions establishing appropriate safeguards, and issue new NIH guidance within 120 days.

Also on March 9, the President issued a Presidential Memorandum for the Heads of Executive Departments and Agencies assigning to the Director of the Office of Science and Technology Policy “the responsibility for ensuring the highest level of integrity in all aspects of the executive branch’s involvement with scientific and technological processes.” The OSTP Director, working with heads of of executive departments and agencies, is to develop, within 120 days, recommendations for Presidential action designed to guarantee scientific integrity throughout the executive branch.

March 03, 2009 Submission Problems

The system used to submit proposals to the federal funding agencies is experiencing problems that threaten the timely submission of UC Berkeley grant applications. These problems also are affecting the submission of proposals from other universities across the country and appear to relate to the server’s inability to effectively process the large number of proposal submissions being submitted at the same time. Issues related to the conversion to Adobe Acrobat proposal preparation software also are creating difficulties. In some cases proposals are not making it to the target agency in time to be accepted and reviewed.

In response, the Sponsored Projects Office has decided to allow our research administrators to submit proposals after office hours to enhance the chances of a proposal making it through the pipeline without incident. The UC Berkeley community can assist SPO with this challenge by taking steps to submit proposals in final form by the required internal proposal deadline. Late proposals run the risk of being caught in a bottleneck that the funding agency may or may not recognize and accommodate.

March 02, 2009

SPO Leadership Announcement

Pam Miller is joining us as the new Director of the Sponsored Projects Office on Monday, March 2, 2009.

Pam comes to us from the University of San Francisco where she established their first Office of Sponsored Projects and served as its Director. Prior to joining USF in 2003, Pam was a member of the graduate faculty and a research administrator at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale (1984-2000) and Director of the sponsored projects office at the University of Southern Mississippi (2000-2003). Pam also brings to the office her experience working as a researcher. She received her Masters in Education from Penn State University and received her Ph.D. in Education from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale. She also has published over 25 journal articles and made over 60 professional presentations related to her own research, training, and service interests in the fields of Education and Research Administration, and has received grants totaling over $1.6M from governmental and private agencies, including the U.S. Department of Education and the Jesuit Foundation. Pam is also very active in the research administration field nationally. She has served as the Editor of The Journal of Research Administration from 1995 to 2001 and is currently the President of the Society of Research Administrators International (SRA).

Pam’s telephone number is 642-2925, and her email is Please join us in welcoming her to Berkeley and to the Research Administration and Compliance Office.